Montreal has a large number of noteworthy churches, some of which date back two centuries or even longer. These are some of the biggest ones in the city.
Montreal’s Top Churches
Montreal has a long religious history as the original settlement of Ville-Marie was led by the Society of the Priests of Saint Sulpice. Today, there are many different churches in the city and some of them are well-worth visiting whether or not you are personally religious. Below are some of the best churches to visit in Montreal.
Christ Church Cathedral
More or less unchanged (at least on the inside) since it was built back in the 1850s, the Christ Church Cathedral today is a National Historic Site of Canada. The building is designed in the shape of a cross in the Neo-Gothic style. Along with regular services the church hosts a number of events over the course of the year including some of the Montreal Bach Festival. The cathedral also sits on top of the underground Promenades Cathédral shopping centre at 635 Saint-Catherine West Street.
For more information visit the Christ Church Cathedral website.
Church of La Visitation-de-la-Bienhereuse-Vierge-Marie
Located at 1847 Gouin Boulevard East, this church is the oldest one on the Island of Montreal at over 250 years old. That alone makes it worth a visit, enhanced by the fact that by and large the interior of the building is the same as it was when it first opened. During the 19th century a series of stained glass windows and a pair of bell towers were added. Outside of that, however, there have been no large-scale renovations.
To learn more click Church of La Visitation-de-la-Bienhereuse-Vierge-Marie.
Church of Saint Andrew and Saint Paul
This Presbyterian church is the product of two former congregations merging together. Previously there were two separate buildings for Saint Andrew’s Church and Saint Paul’s Church but now there is just one at 3415 Redpath Street. The church contains the biggest organ in the city with 7,000 pipes and the interior has a combination of decorations from the original two buildings.
To learn more visit the Church of Saint Andrew and Saint Paul website.
Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral
Modeled after the Vatican’s Saint Peter’s Basilica, this church is located at 1085 Rue de la Cathédrale. The cathedral was the most expensive building in Montreal’s history when it was built at the end of the 19th century. Today the church is a National Historic Site and is one of the most popular ones in the city to visit. Amongst the decor there is a large domed ceiling overhead and a series of paintings that evoke some of Montreal’s history.
For more information check out the Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral website.
Another national historic site, the Notre-Dame Basilica is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the entire country. Over 10 million people flock to 110 Notre-Dame Street West each year to admire this architecturally stunning building. There are two massive bell towers on the exterior and plenty of things to look at inside including paintings, stained glass windows, statues and more. There is also the AURA multimedia show that turns the basilica into a theatrical production on many evenings.
To learn more about the attraction see our Notre-Dame Basilica article.
A second church in the city that has Notre-Dame in its name, this chapel sits at 400 Saint-Paul Street East and is famous in its own right. The building is over 300 years old, and has both a crypt and a lookout tower open to visitors. Its location overlooking the Old Port of Montreal gives it some fantastic views. The site is also home to the Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum and is an archaeological hotbed as well.
For more information visit the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel website.
Saint George’s Anglican Church
Patterned after the English Gothic Revival style of architecture, Saint George’s Church is a National Historic Site for its design which is somewhat unique compared to other old churches in the area. The exterior is made of sandstone and there are plenty of wooden carvings and stylings in the interior including some of the biggest wooden beams in the world. There is also a tapestry inside that was used at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
To learn more click Saint George’s Anglican Church.
The largest church building in the entire country, around 10,000 people can fit inside this Oratory. The top of the dome is the highest elevation for any building in the city as the church sits on a summit of Mount Royal, at 3800 Queen Mary Road. There are multiple sections within the building that demand exploration. There’s the underground Crypt Church, the Votive Chapel (which contains 10,000 candles) and the main Shrine which took over 40 years to fully finish. The building also has the biggest dome in Canada at almost 40 metres in diameter.
For more information check out our Saint-Joseph’s Oratory article.
Saint. Patrick’s Basilica
The oldest English-speaking Catholic Church in the city, Saint Patrick’s Basilica is another National Historic Site. It’s also an important part of the Irish community in Montreal. The church’s steeple is green and inside the building there is iconography that combines the fleur-de-lis with Irish shamrocks. There are also around 150 paintings of different saints inside. The church is located at 460 René-Lévesque Boulevard West.
To learn more visit the Saint Patrick’s Basilica website.
St. James United Church
A protestant church that is also a National Historic Site, St. James Church is located at 1435 City Councillors Street. The interior is pretty large, with an amphitheater that can seat nearly 1,200 people. The church was designed to look like a medieval French cathedral with large stone towers and stylized accents alongside the many windows.
For more information visit the St. James United Church website.
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